I’ve written before about Huguette Clark, the reclusive heiress and daughter of Copper King William Clark, and about the alleged mismanagement of her money and estate. When she died in the spring of 2011, Huguette left a $400 million fortune and a shroud of mystery.
The investigative reporter who uncovered the story, Bill Dedman of msnbc.com, and a cousin of Huguette’s, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., are writing a book about Huguette and her family, “Empty Mansions: The True Saga of the Copper King W.A. Clark, the Reclusive Heiress Huguette, and Their American Family of Wealth, Scandal and Mystery,” to be published by Ballantine Bantam Dell. (As a descendant of William Clark’s sister, Newell is not an heir to the Clark fortune, which descendants of Clark through his first wife are litigating.)
Dedman and msnbc.com also report that Huguette’s three Manhattan apartments–which she hadn’t lived in for decades–are listed for sale for a combined $55 million, by an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, marketed as “a time capsule from the Gilded Age.” Indeed. Check out the floor plans. (No photos of Clark’s apartments yet, but here are shots of another apartment available in the same building, for a mere $25 million.)
It’s like Edith Wharton come to life, with just about as happy an ending as Lily Bart.
And what about the jewels, you ask? Christie’s will auction them on April 17. The pink cushion-cut 9 carat diamond ring, possibly once her mother Anna’s, is estimated to be worth $6-8 million. You’ve got to see the close-ups of the Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet and the diamond bracelet she wore in her last-known photo.
Honestly, I feel like a voyeur, but I can’t stop looking. And if you’re writing family saga, rich vs. poor, the Gilded Age, early 20th century western history, or any story involving a will contest, undue influence, or the mysterious past, you won’t want to, either.
(Thanks to Bill Dedman of msnbc.com for the updates and photos.)